Home » Uncategorized » Writing Our Way Into Gendering Products

Writing Our Way Into Gendering Products

It is no lie that when asked what is masculine and feminine, people are able to list off assets and characteristics of what they believe to be is either masculine or feminine. Due to these beliefs, the products we use daily begin to reflect these traits and characteristics.

I always believed that something as simple as a pen would be considered a universal object without any gender bias. However, this mindset has changed when BIC introduced the BIC Cristal for Her line of pens. With this line of pen, they are trying to sell the product to females. This is demonstrated in the name itself. It also prides itself over having a “Thin barrel to fit a woman’s hand” which is used in the description of the product. BIC uses the phrase “The Cristal reserved for women!” as the pens slogan.

With the BIC for Her, BIC attempts to create this atmosphere of what a pen should be for women. It uses the typical characteristics of a feminine product, and incorporates that into its product. When I began look at the difference between these brands of pen, I looked at the standard BIC Cristal pen. The standard Cristal pen is exactly the same as the pen marketed towards women. The only difference between the two is the color of the pens barrel and the description on the back of the packaging.

The BIC for Her was brought further into the attention of consumers’ minds when Ellen DeGeneres did a segment of the pens on her television show. Even though Ellen was able to show the sexism of this product through humor, she still illustrated how people are preserving women. She jokes “and they both come in lady colors, pink and purple.” Although the comment could come off as being a joke, the statement still holds a lot of truth behind it. People have characterized pink and purple as being feminine colors, which is why BIC uses these colors in the product. She further goes on to say “and they’re pink so they cost twice as much.” That’s another sad fact about this certain product. Companies know that if they can create a product, direct it towards a certain set of people, they can raise the prices because they know that it will sell.

In McGraw, Why Feminine Technologies Matter, she says “although we usually associate technology with utility, its actual role is often decorative or cosmetic”. With the all of BIC’s products, we would often believe that it is being created to be utilized, to be used for writing and drawing. But will the BIC for Her, the focus of the pen is centered on its appearance, the colors of the pen, and the “thin barrel” that is supposedly made to fit a women’s hand, even though it is exactly the same pen as several other products they create.

Overall, there are many different ways in which our world has been divided by the products we use and the gender segregation we give these products.

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